Davidson Stephen Curry’s star keeps getting brighter.
The former Charlotte Christian and Davidson standout became an NBA All-Star in 2014, was named to the All-NBA second team and finished sixth in MVP voting.
Speaking one day after the Spurs won the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors guard now has his sights set on the ultimate team award.
“We have a pretty legit window to be a championship-caliber team and make those strides,” Curry said Monday at his annual Curry Celebrity Golf Classic at River Run Golf Club.
Curry, 26, will be making those strides with a new coach next season, though. The Warriors fired Mark Jackson last month after helping Golden State to back-to-back playoff appearances and its first 50-win season in two decades.
Curry and Jackson forged a close bond in the three years together at Golden State. The Warriors lost an opening-round series to the Clippers in seven games, and three days later Jackson was fired.
The news took Curry by surprise.
“You fight so hard every day for three years with a coach that has bought into every guy in the locker room, and he did a lot for me as a player and put me in positions to be successful,” Curry said. “So you see that era end, it’s difficult for sure.
“A lot happened at once. I had to take a moment to let it sink in. Honestly it still kind of hasn’t because we haven’t been together as a team in the locker room.”
Jackson was a color analyst for ABC’s coverage of the NBA Finals, and Curry admitted it was odd hearing the voice of his former coach while watching the Heat and Spurs.
“I heard that voice for three straight years, but the same time it was not weird because that’s what I knew Coach was before I got to know him as a person,” Curry said. “(Jackson’s catch phrases) ‘Hand down, man down’ and ‘momma there goes that man.’ He felt real comfortable back in front of the TV, behind the mic. I’m glad that he’s still involved in the NBA scene because he’s definitely a guy that should be involved whether it’s a head coaching job or an analyst job.”
Stepping into the vacant coaching role is Steve Kerr, a former sharpshooting NBA guard who, like Jackson, became a TV analyst after retirement.
Kerr has no previous head coaching experience, but Curry has talked with Kerr several times this offseason and feels confident Kerr and his staff will continue the success Jackson helped build.
“Coach Kerr and our front office, I know they’re committed to winning and putting a product out there that they feel like is ready to be where the Spurs are right now,” Curry said.
Curry averaged more points (24) and assists (8.5) per game this year than any other season of his five-year career. A starter for the West All-Stars and the fifth runner-up for MVP, Curry will soon be back on the court preparing for the FIBA World Cup of Basketball in August and September after taking a month off.
Aside from Curry’s on-court accolades, the NBA awarded Curry the Kia Community Assist Award three weeks ago for his charitable work in the Bay Area, Charlotte and across the globe.
Curry said his staff on both coasts helped put together events like Monday’s golf tournament.
The Curry Celebrity Golf Classic benefitted the Ada Jenkins Center, a nonprofit health and human service agency that provides services to people to become healthier, better educated and economically self-sufficient.
Curry has been playing a lot of golf in his downtime, and took his father on the course for Father’s Day. Dell Curry, the Hornets’ all-time leading scroer, didn’t want to say what he shot, but he admitted his son bested him.
“I can’t beat the young fella anymore in basketball or golf,” Dell Curry said. “That’s the way it should be, I guess.”
Jones: 704-358-5323; Twitter: @jjones9
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